Heavens to Murgatroyd

Heavens to Murgatroyd is a cry of surprise. The American exclamation Heavens to Murgatroyd was made popular by Snagglepuss, a cartoon pink mountain lion created by Hanna-Barbera in 1959. Snagglepuss’ voice was patterned on the voice of actor Bert Lahr. Heavens to Murgatroyd carries no further meaning than similar expressions such as Heavens to Betsy and Holy Cow.

The phrase Heavens to Murgatroyd first appears in the 1944 film Meet the People, it was uttered by the character portrayed by Bert Lahr.

Murgatroyd is a surname from old English aristocracy, the first use of the name is Johanus de Morgateroyde, a constable in Yorkshire, in 1371. Morgateroyde literally means the district leading to the moor. Several characters in Gilbert and Sullivan’s light opera, Ruddigore, are named Murgatroyd.


Alternate spellings are Murgatroid, Mergatroyd or Mergatroid, the most popular spelling by far, is Murgatroyd.


Dave Helling: Heavens to Murgatroyd — Nixon and Brownback exit the national spotlight, stage left (The Kansas City Star)

“Heavens to Murgatroyd!” he proclaimed. “My partner and I want to get married even.” (The Knoxville News Sentinel)

Except that he says, oh, no, heavens to Murgatroyd , “these are educational events, not political events,” that just happened to be timed for the week prior to Oregon’s ballot mail-out (Oregon is all vote-by-mail, so this is like standing out front of the polls on Election Day). (The Huffington Post)

Thus, the menu features things which are not barbecue (heavens to Betsy!) and doesn’t sell meat by the pound or have counter service (heavens to Murgatroyd!). (The Dallas Observer)

It apparently never occurred to them that opponents might genuinely believe Obamacare would lead to perverse outcomes, or—heavens to Murgatroyd – that their beliefs could be grounded in reality. (U.S. News & World Report)


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  1. Christa E. Cannon says:

    Totally said this in Snagglepuss’s voice when I read the heading. :) We should start saying this more often, methinks!

    One thing, though: it’s actually Hanna-Barbera, not Hanna-Barbara (spelled and pronounced differently).

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